Saturday, February 7, 2009

Funding for Housing Programs Face Major Cutbacks as Senate Nears Vote

As confirmed in this article in the New York Times, it appears that the Senate was able to find bipartisan agreement on an economic recovery package late Friday, February 6.

Both messages from the Administration and a recent study on the rising rate of unemployed released by the Department of Labor emphasize that the Senate must act quickly to pass a piece of legislation that will spur the economy and encourage job growth.

But in order to garner the sixty vote needed in the Senate to approve this package, H.R. 1 the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act" now includes an amendment that will slash approximately $110 billion in program funding.

This large loss in funding includes many affordable housing programs such as the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), which was designed to help communities hit most forcefully by the foreclosure crisis.

The Senate anticipates a vote on H.R.1 sometime tomorrow, February 8.

If it is passed in the Senate, the bill will enter conference and leadership from the House of Representatives and Senate must reach agreement on a final package. This task might be difficult, as suggested by this article in the Washington Post, because there are large differences between the version of H.R. 1 that passed in the House of Representatives without bipartisan support and the Senate version of the bill.

Policymakers still hope to find consensus on an economic recovery package so that it is delivered and signed by the White House next week.

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